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This Tactic Will Increase Your TOEFL Speaking Score By 50%




Studies show that using idioms can help you score higher for TOEFL Speaking.


Idioms are an integral part of the English language and if you can demonstrate that you use idioms naturally and appropriately when speaking, it is a sign that you have strong communication skills in English.

So we encourage students to learn a few idioms that they think they can use in the TOEFL Speaking section.

Before we get started, for anyone who is not familiar with the TOEFL exam, here is a basic introduction (If you already know what about the structure of the TOEFL exam you can skip this part)

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

The TOEFL test is a widely respected English language test known throughout the world. This test is recognized by many universities and colleges in more than 130 countries which include the USA, the UK, Canada and Australia.

You can register online, or by phone or by mail to do this test. You can practice online anywhere as long as you have internet connection. There are four parts to this test with each test measuring different language skills.


TOEFL Reading Test

The Reading section involves reading 3 to 5 passages with each one being approximately 700 words in length with topics found at an English-speaking university. The questions relate to cause and effect situations, comparing and contrasting situation and arguments.

Students who take this exam must answer questions about the main points of the passage, essential information contained within these passages, vocabulary and main ideas.


TOEFL Listening Test

The Listening section involves the student answering questions on 6 different passages, with each passage being 3 – 5 minutes of duration. Each passage is heard only once and notes may be taken by the person doing the test.

These passages are either conversation or lecture based with 5 questions being asked on the conversation passages and six questions being asked on the lecture passages. Answers must show the student’s ability to understand the main details, ideas and information of the passages.


TOEFL Speaking Test

The Speaking section involves six tasks. In the 2 independent tasks, the examinees will answer giving their opinions on family day to day tasks. In the integrated tasks, these include reading a passage and answering questions thereon.

Examinees need to be able to show ability in speaking English giving the correct answers and conveying the information required.


TOEFL Writing Test

The Writing section gives the examinee the chance to write in a ‘university or school’ like setting and involves two tests. One of these tests is an integrated task whereby the examinee reads a passage on a certain academic topic followed by the speaker discussing what was in the passage.

Then the examinee has to write a “precis” stating the important facts and details of the passage. In the independent task, the examinee has to write a story (or essay) giving their opinion or choice with explanations as to their opinion together with reasons and/or choices.


All these TOEFL tests are internet based but paper-based testing is still used in certain areas. These tests can be taken within one to four weeks of applying in the majority of countries.


How can I use Idioms to raise TOEFL Speaking scores?

So back to our main point – how can we use idioms to improve TOEFL Speaking scores.

TOEFL speaking sections tests how fluent you are in speaking the language.

When you enroll in an university program (PhD or Masters) you need to be able to communicate with native English speakers.

If you are in Business school, you may have to do an internship at a company, where your English speaking skills will be critical for your performance.

Even if you are a researcher or a scientist, you will need to present your findings at conferences.

Showing your knowledge of idioms is a great way to show your Spoken English proficiency at the TOEFL exam.

Of course, if you over do this tactic and use too many idioms, it will back fire. For example, if you start using idioms in every sentence that will definitely lower your TOEFL speaking score.

So please don’t over do it! Forcing an idiom in a place it does not fit in is not a sign of a fluent English speaker.

Remember, the best way to get a high TOEFL Speaking score is to improve English Speaking overall.  You can’t just learn English speaking specific to the TOEFL Speaking section. You have to go beyond memorizing grammar and vocabulary and start practicing with Native English Speakers. That’s the only way to guarantee a great TOEFL score.

Worried about TOEFL Speaking? We can help.


Spoken English Trial Lesson


How about using idioms in the TOEFL Writing section?

Our advise is not to use idioms in the writing section for TOEFL. Idioms are very conversational in nature and hence native English speakers don’t typically use idioms in written English.

To make things even more easier for you we created the top 10 idioms we think you can use in the TOEFL Speaking exam.

Of course, this list will vary depending on how you structure your ideas and what the topic of discussion is.  Our goal is to give you a starting point 🙂


Get off the ground

To get a good start

Example: The hardest thing about starting a business is getting it off the ground


Spoken English Practice Rating by Yurij

Yurij From Russia


I finally passed my IELTS exam and got the results I wanted (L-8.5, R-8.5, W-7.0, S-7.0, O-8.0). Thanks for the service. Emily was a great conversation partner. She always prepared good topics and questions. On the writing part of the exam I got a topic related to one of the topics we had discussed with her. It was about zoos and elephants and was very helpful. Practice is extremely important for learning to speak English. Spoken English Practice provided me with a lot of practice on a regular basis.In the beginning, it was hard for me to remember words and speak fluently. From time to time, I had to look up words in a dictionary. Sometimes I knew the word but could not remember it until I looked it up in dictionary. After some time it became much easier. I get accustomed to the words I use the most. I also learned to replace the exact words I cannot remember with other words that are not exact but have a close meaning. As a result, I became much more fluent and more confident in my speaking skills


Take for granted

Accept something as you deserve it, without valuing it

Example: We take clean water for granted in the first world, but there are so many people around the world with no access to any clean water.


Jazz up

To brighten up

Example: The party was very dull until Adam jazzed it up with his dance moves.


How does programs like Spoken English Practice make students fluent in English in weeks without teaching grammar? Learn the trick!




Period of lesser activity

Example: The government expects the current slowdown in the economy to end by the end of the year.


Get ones ducks in a row

To get everything in order

Example: Mrs Jones got all his ducks in a row for the party


Matter of life and death

A situation of great importance

Example: The experiment was a matter of life and death for the scientist. He know it was his last hope to getting funded.


Give it your best shot

Try your best

Example: I know getting admission to a top university is hard but I wanted to give it my best shot.

Comes with the territory

Is expected

Example: Mary felt a lot of pressure after getting promoted to the head of her department, but she knew it came with the territory.

Stepped up to the plate

To take responsibility

Example: Kim’s parents felt it was time for Kim to step up to the plate and improve her grades.

Stand the gaff

To stand rough treatment

Example: You can’t run for senate if you can’t stand the gaff.


What other English exams can we help with?

TOEFL Speaking is not the only exam we can help with.

We have specialized teachers who are experts of IELTS and various Cambridge exams.

More about those exams here


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Nostalgia and much more with Starburst XXXtreme




Get a taste of adventure with Starburst XXXtreme based on the legendary NetEnt Game. The nostalgic themes are sure to capture fans of the classic version as they get treated to higher intensity, better visuals, and features. The most significant element of the game is its volatility. Patience will not be an essential virtue considering the insane gameplay, and there is a lot of win potential involved. It retains the original makeup of the previous game while adding a healthy dose of adrenaline. 

Starburst Visuals and Symbols

The game is definitely more conspicuous than before. The setting happens over a 5-reel, 3-row game grid with nine fixed win lines, which function if a succession from the left to the right reel is present. Only those players that that attain the highest win per bet line are paid. From a visual standpoint, the Starburst XXXtreme slots illustrates lightning effects behind the reels, which is not surprising as it is inherited from the original version. Available themes include Classic, Jewels, and Space. The game is also available in both desktop and mobile versions, which is advantageous for players considering the global pandemic. According to Techguide, American gamers are increasingly having more engaging gaming experiences to socialize to fill the gap of in-person interaction. Starburst XXXtreme allows them to fill the social void at a time when there is so much time to be had indoors. 

Starburst XXXTreme Features

Players get to alternate on three features which are Starburst Wilds, XXXtreme Spins, and Random Wilds. The first appears on reels 2,3, or 4. When these land, they expand to cover all positions while also calculating the wins. They are also locked for a respin. If a new one hits, it also becomes locked while awarding another respin. Starburst XXXtreme offers a choice between two scenarios for a higher stake. In one scenario with a ten times stake, the Starburst Wild is set on random on reels 2,3, or 4, and a multiplier starts the respin. The second scenario, which has a 95 times stake, starts with two guaranteed starburst wilds on reels 2,3, or 4. it also plays out using respin game sequence and features. The game also increases the potential with the Random Wilds feature to add Starburst Wilds to a vacant reel at the end of a spin. Every Starburst Wild gives a random multiplier with potential wins of x2, x3, x5, x10, x25, x50, x100, or even x150.

The new feature is sure to be a big hit with the gaming market as online gambling has shown significant growth during the lockdown. AdAge indicates the current casino customer base is an estimated one in five Americans, so Starburst XXXtreme’s additional features will achieve considerable popularity. 

What We Think About The Game

The gambling market has continued to diversify post-pandemic, so it is one of the most opportune times to release an online casino-based game. Thankfully Starburst XXXtreme features eye-catching visuals, including the jewels and space themes. These attract audience participation and make the gameplay inviting. The game also has a nostalgic edge. The previous NetEnt iteration featured similar visuals and gameplay, so the audience has some familiarity with it. The producers have revamped this version by tweaking the features to improve the volatility and engagement. 

That is characterized by the potential win cap of 200,000 times the bet. Starburst XXXtreme does not just give betting alternatives for players that want to go big. The increase of multipliers also provides a great experience. If the respins in the previous version were great, knowing that multipliers can go hundreds of times overtakes the game to a new level. 

Players should get excited about this offering. All of the features can be triggered within a single spin. Whether one plays the standard game or takes the XXXtreme spin route, it is possible to activate all of the features. Of course, the potential 200,000 times potential is a huge carrot. However, the bet size is probably going to be restricted and vary depending on the casino. It is also worth pointing out that a malfunction during the gameplay will void all of the payouts and progress. Overall, the game itself has been designed to provide a capped win of 200,000 times the original bet. 

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‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year




In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

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MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal




MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.


The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

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